First participants in Conservation Stewardship Program can renew for five more years

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Farm Forum

Huron – The first participants of the Conservation Stewardship Program have until Sept. 12 to renew their contracts and make decisions on additional conservation activities that will benefit priority natural resource issues.

CSP is offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and is the Farm Bill program that helps farmers and ranchers take conservation investments to the next level.

In South Dakota, about 500 CSP contracts are reaching the end of their initial 5-year contract period and may be renewed for an additional 5 years where participants agree to take additional conservation measures.

The program provides opportunities for farmers and ranchers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat.

“CSP farmers are conservation leaders and go the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich said. “The 2014 Farm Bill continued that strong commitment and heightened the program’s focus on generating conservation benefits.”

Since CSP began in 2009, more than 58 million acres nationwide have been enrolled in the program – an area the size of Indiana and Wisconsin combined. CSP participants boost their operations’ conservation benefits by installing new conservation activities that make positive changes in soil, water, air and wildlife habitat.

In South Dakota, more than 3.5 million acres have been enrolled with a million acres eligible to be re-enrolled this year. “CSP allows landowners to reach the next level of conservation and opens the door to trying new conservation activities,” Zimprich said.

To learn about technical and financial assistance available through CSP, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted, the Conservation Stewardship webpage or local USDA service center. For more on the 2014 Farm Bill, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/FarmBill.